This Election Season, Women Take Action

unnamedRegardless of your political views or affiliations, we can all agree that women have become an important part of this election season. While this isn’t the first time a woman has run for president–Victoria Woodhull represented The Equal Rights party in 1872 and Belva Lockwood ran in 1884 and 1888 on behalf of The National Equal Rights Party–and, this isn’t even the first time major parties have elected women as nominees to executive posts-Geraldine Ferraro in 1984 and Sarah Palin in 2008 both won their parties nomination for vice-president–this is the first time a major political party has nominated a woman to become President of the United States. We are witnessing a change in landscape.

Both conventions had numerous women address each audience – many spoke during primetime slots, literally having the world as their stage. There is an unspoken question simmering underneath the issues around women’s advancement that is palpable: does the progress of women come at the expense of men? NY Times writer and author Nicholas Kristof has done an outstanding job of documenting the fact that when women win, we ALL win, a sentiment we have discussed numerous times from the Generation W stage.

Back in 2014, author John Gerzema shared results from his study The Athena Doctrine that showed some of the best attributes of great leadership are ones where women excel. According to John, “all leaders, male and female, innately possess feminine qualities like empathy, candor and vulnerability.” The difference doesn’t necessarily lie in gender, it lies in which leaders choose to leverage those qualities as strengths. And just last April Audrey Moran stated, “When women are at the table the issues that address family and women which affect us all are raised.” The issues around family do affect us all!

What I have found so energizing is that we are not only talking about women as leaders, we are actually seeing them in action. Yuriko Koike just became the first female governor of Tokyo, Prime Minister May is leading Great Britain, we just celebrated Lori Boyer on becoming Jacksonville City Council President. And I am now deeply engaged in following the elections in Ghana, where my dear Vital Voices’ mentee, Brigitte Dzogbenuku raised her hand to run as the running mate for the flagbearer of the People’s Progressive Party in her home country. Her email shared a variety of emotions, primarily focused on the need for her country to have change, and her desire to be a part of bringing that change.

It is a season for change. As New York Senator Kirsten Gillibrand reminds us often, don’t be on the sidelines, raise your hand and let your voice be heard. TWEET THIS




Donna_Orender_Headshotby Donna Orender